Liam John Neeson OBE (born 7 June 1952)is an actor from Northern Ireland.He has been nominated for a number of awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actor, a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and three Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama. Empire magazine ranked Neeson among both the "100 Sexiest Stars in Film History" and "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time".
In 1976,Neesonjoined the Lyric Players' Theatre in Belfast for two years. He then acted in the Arthurian film Excalibur (1981). Between 1982 and 1987, Neeson starred in five films, most notably alongside Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins in The Bounty (1984), and Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons in The Mission (1986). He landed a leading role alongside Patrick Swayze in Next of Kin (1989).
Neeson rose to prominence when he starred as Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List (1993). He has since starred in other successful films, including the drama Nell (1994), the historical biopic Michael Collins (1996), the 1998 film adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, the epic space opera Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), the biographical drama Kinsey (2004), the superhero film Batman Begins (2005), the action thriller series Taken (2008–2014), the thriller-survival film The Grey (2011), and the historical drama Silence (2016). He also provided the voices of Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia trilogy (2005–2010) and the titular monster in A Monster Calls (2016).
Director Steven Spielberg offered Neeson the role of Oskar Schindler in his film about the Holocaust, Schindler's List,after seeing him in Anna Christie on Broadway. Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson and Warren Beatty all expressed interest in portraying Schindler,(the last auditioning),but Neeson was cast in December 1992 after formally auditioning for the role. Neeson read the Keneally book and concluded that his character "enjoyed fookin' [sic] with the Nazis. In Keneally's book, it says he was regarded as a kind of a buffoon by them... if the Nazis were New Yorkers, he was from Arkansas. They don't quite take him seriously, and he used that to full effect."His critically acclaimed performance earned him a nomination for a Best Actor Oscar, and helped the film earn Best Picture of 1993. (The best actor award went to Tom Hanks for his performance in Philadelphia.) Neeson also garnered BAFTA and Golden Globes nominations for his performance as Schindler. Soon after these accolades, Neeson became an in-demand leading actor. He starred in the subsequent period pieces Rob Roy (1995) and Michael Collins (1996), the latter earning him a win for Best Starring Role at the Venice Film Festival and another Golden Globe nomination. He went on to star as Jean Valjean in the 1998 adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables and in The Haunting (1999) as Dr. David Marrow.
In 1999, Neeson starred as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Director George Lucas cast Neeson in the role because he considered him a "master actor, who the other actors will look up to, who has got the qualities of strength that the character demands."As the first Star Wars film to be released in 16 years, it was surrounded by a large amount of media anticipation. Neeson's connection to Star Wars started in the Crown Bar, Belfast. He told Ricki Lake, "I probably wouldn't have taken the role if it wasn't for the advice of Peter King in the Crown during a Lyric reunion."[clarification needed] Despite mixed reviews from critics and fans,The Phantom Menace was an enormous box-office success and remained the most financially successful Star Wars film unadjusted for inflation until Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).Neeson's performance as Qui-Gon received several positive reviews and a Saturn Award nomination. A stock recording of his voice from The Phantom Menace can be heard during a scene in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002). Neeson was later reported to be appearing in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), portraying Qui-Gon again, but ultimately did not. In the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008–14), Neeson reprised the role of Qui-Gon once again by voicing the character in two episodes of the third season and one episode of the sixth season.